Process and Inspiration
To better read a person’s work it is helpful to have some insight into how they view their life, where they draw inspiration, and how their work practises have evolved. But, let me begin by saying that all ‘artist’s statements’ should be taken with a pinch of salt. So please read this ‘life on one page’ with a full plate beside you.
I describe myself as a printmaker not an artist. However, it is hard because other people (probably only through convention, flattery or intellectual laziness) refer to me as an artist. The point is I don’t know whether I make art or not, but I know that I make prints. That some prints I make may be art and others not is of no consequence to me. If you haven’t already stopped reading, I hope that you will understand after you have read this page.
Like all people I was born hungry, selfish and curious. My parents looked after my hunger, contained and taught me to modify my selfishness and vainly tried to focus my curiosity into the sciences. Fortunately I was good at Maths and that got me through school. Doubly fortunate, as it also meant that I was not subjected to what passed for an art education in those days.
But I knew two things from a very early age.
Firstly, that while the advantage given to ‘white’ culture through technology born of empirical thinking made people value rational thought above all else, I knew (though the sense of ‘ I’ was very poorly understood at that time)that people were the sum of more than that. I was aware that most of what was going on in my head was not rational thinking and thought that it too must be important or it wouldn’t be part of my human experience. Besides, irrational thoughts and fantasy were/are fun.
Secondly, and more importantly, from a young age I have felt the surge of a deeper force washing through me and everything else.
Being content to be a simple man, those two simple realisations were enough and remain enough for me to build a curious life.
Using my hands (isn’t having an opposable thumb a joy) to act in the world has always been my natural way of being curious in the world. I trained as a Stereo Cutter (relief block maker) in industry in the early 70’s when the craft still existed; so relief block printmaking always has been the natural medium for me to work in. While I am far from being a Peter Pan, I am still the boy in the sand pit when I am exercising my skill and curiously in the studio. I love to draw and cut blocks. When I draw, I am placing myself in the world and when I cut the block I reflect on that placement. It is like the experience of opening a door.
Of course my evolved self-knowledge is not only down to what I do and think in quiet meditative play, life is about ‘I and thou’. Consciousness is a collective, collaborative understanding of our humanity. I am not just a printmaker, I am a husband and a father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend. I am curious about all of those relationships too and try to make them as authentic as they can be for the mutual good.
Just as a snowball rolling down a hill grows as it goes, so too human consciousness is evolving through time. What began in prehistory as a blind bunch of instinctive forces has become a collective consciousness. I say ‘a’ consciousness as there a many collective parcels of it; we call them cultures. It is very hard to transcend the consciousness (or cultural thought) of our time and place. That is why we can see similarities in art produced during distinct historic time periods. But not attempting to transcend cultural context risks the reification of it and the delusion that our notion both it and of ‘I’ is both permanent and overly important.………you may need more salt about now.
So as my selfhood exists not in my mind but somewhere in the dialogue between myself, other selves and the natural world, I find myself both facing the world and withdrawing to the meditation space of my studio. I can’t conceive of myself living an authentic life without a balance of both. My wellbeing and prints are a by-product of a curious life lived in that balance. Is it Art? Does it matter? Not to me, but they are prints and I am the printmaker.
Website: www.waynesingleton.com.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org